Question: What if i have available credit on open credit cards? – Medical Bill Survival Guide
The Medical Bill Survival Guide complete book
Available Now: Medical Bill Survival Guide by Nicholas Newsad in print and e-book format at Amazon.com

Second place in the Reader Views Literary Awards, "Health" and "How To" categories

It does not matter how bad your financial situation seems to be, The Medical Bill Survival Guide will provide you with the knowledge to help yourself or your loved one. Medical bill anxiety is caused by miscommunications and misunderstandings. This book teaches easy, effective strategies for working with insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers.

Readers will learn and discover:
  • How process problems cause insurance claims to be rejected and denied
  • How to access public insurance programs for the uninsured and unemployed
  • How to access provider-based financial assistance and charity care
  • How to demonstrate financial hardship and
  • How to talk productively to billers and collectors.
The information in this book will benefit:
  • Insured patients who are experiencing difficulty paying the deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance.
  • Uninsured patients who are unemployed or cannot afford health insurance.
  • Patients and the families of patients who have survived a catastrophic medical episode like cancer, heart attack, or major surgery.
  • Patients with chronic diseases requiring continuous, costly medical care like heart disease, COPD, or diabetes.
Nicholas Newsad, MHSA is a senior analyst at a national healthcare management company. He holds a master's degree in hospital and health service administration from Xavier University. He lives in Westminster, Colorado.He has served as a senior healthcare analyst for six years and has also served as an interim surgery center administrator. He has been quoted and interviewed in the L.A. Times, NY Daily News, MSN Money, and Smart Money, as well as numerous other magazines, newspapers, and radio shows.

Do you have a horror story about your medical bills? Insurance company? Or medical provider? We want to hear about it. at medicalbillsurvivorsguide@gmail.com

Question: What if i have available credit on open credit cards?

0 Comments - Posted by nicknewsad on December 16, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Kevin writes:

Nicholas,
I have a question concerning “ability to pay”. I am currently unemployed and have credit card debt totaling 30 thousand dollars however I still have approximately 30 thousand left to tap on the cards. I know that the hospital is going to do a credit check and see how much credit i still have to pay them with. Is available credit that same as ability to pay?

I recently had to go to the emergency room and stay over night at a for profit hospital that ran every test they could think of to charge me as much as they could. I have not even seen the bills yet but I imagine they will total near 80 thousand dollars sticker price. They claim the sent the bills to the wrong mailing address and the first contact I had since leaving the hospital was phone calls from a collection agency. I asked for and submitted an application for charity care/financial aid and it is currently in “review”.

The hospital is for profit and they are located in a very affluent area. The name is…..Lakeway Regional Medical Center in Austin Texas. It just opened 3 months before I was treated there which was September so they have been open since Spring 2012. Actually I don’t know for sure that they are for profit just assuming because they advertise like crazy and are located where people have a lot of money and insurance coverage. What I am afraid of is that they are going to try to strong arm me into paying them on my credit cards.

Thanks in advance,

KB

Nick writes:

Kevin,
No, credit is not considered ability to pay. If you are unemployed, you will get a substantial “self pay” discount from most hospitals. They can’t count your credit as income or ability to pay. The industry standard is to waive 100% of the bill if you make less than 200% of federal poverty level, waive 50%-75% for 300% of FPL, etc.,

The new IRS regulations governing not-for-profit hospitals say they have to give you 8 months to apply for financial aid before collections and that the hospital can not charge you more than they would charge a normal insurance company (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/06/27/155831588/feds-move-to-curb-abusive-debt-collection-by-nonprofit-hospitals).

If it is indeed a for-profit hospital, they are not subject to the IRS regs, but if you prove you are genuinely unable to pay, there is no benefit to them in spending thousands of dollars pursuing you legally.

Let me know what they offer you and we can take it from there.

-Nick

Kevin writes:

I am writing to ask a few follow up questions about the process to obtain financial aid.

The financial counselor for LRMC has requested the following information to establish financial assistance or discount. Since I am not employed and have not been for several years I have no pay stubs and I was not required to file a tax return since I had no income.

These are to very necessary items from what I have read in your book for quantifying the level of assistance needed. What I was told to do is write a very detailed letter to illustrate my situation for the last several years and why I have not been able to find employment.

In your book you explicitly state not to tell a sob story or embellish the details with drama. Since the reasons I have been having trouble earning a living are due to personal problems and lack of a formal work history I don’t think I have a choice but to tell a sob story.

The facts are that I have no income and have been living off credit cards that I was able to establish years ago when things were better. I have about 5000 in liquid accounts and 50,000 debt that I am making the minimum payments on to keep things going for now. It really comes down to whether they believe me or not and if not I have no choice but to declare bankruptcy.

I guess what I am asking is what is the best way to explain my situation since I have no “proof” that I am below the poverty income level.

Thanks in advance,

Nick Writes:

Hi Kevin,
I think you have plenty of proof of your inability to pay.

First, when you provide them with 3 months of bank statements, they will see that their have been no regular direct deposits or check deposits from an employer’s payroll. If you have been collecting unemployment or disability income, these deposits will show up on your bank statement so make sure to identify them.

Second, in place of a tax return you can sign up online with the Social  Security Administration to get an instant statement–“Your Social Security Statement” (https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do).  On page 3 of the Your Social Security Statement is “Your Earnings Record”, which shows your adjusted gross income each year you have worked in the US.  I believe they track this based on payroll deferrals to determine eligibility for Social Security.  This “Your Earnings Record” will make it clear to them you stopped collecting income 3 years ago.

Sound like you’re probably below 200% of FPL, so I would expect them to write-off your balance.  Let me know if you want me to get involved.

Sincerely,

Nick

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